The Dresden Files: Dead Beat by Jim Butcher – Book Review [Bane of Kings]


Bane of Kings Reviews the Dresden Files novel Dead Beat, Book Seven in the series, published by Orbit in the UK.

“Dresden is back, and better than ever. Dead Beat is one of my favourite Dresden Files novels yet, and is one not to be missed for any fan of Butcher or his work.” ~The Founding Fields

Warning! Only read the below review if you have read the previous novels in the series. Also, there are minor spoilers for this novel in the review as well.

By now, I think it’s safe to say that if you’re still reading the Dresden Files, it’s safe to say that you’ll be a fan of them, even after the disappointing Blood Rites, and that you’ll probably enjoy any new Dresden Files by now. And, I’m pleased to say, that I enjoyed Dead Beat.

In fact, I didn’t just enjoy it. I really, really enjoyed it. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say it was one of the best Dresden Files novels that I’ve read yet, coming in third behind Summer Knight and Death Masks respectively. Bearing in mind, I’ve only read up to Dead Beat – and some people are telling me that Changes, is an amazing novel – so I can’t wait until I get around to reading that.

Now then, back with the review. Dead Beat starts off with Murphy leaving with Kincaid, the badass mercenary that we met in Blood Rites, to go out of Chicago for a bit, leaving Harry alone, and lacking police support, and the good, humorous, Dresden-Murphy banter that Dresden fans have come to get used to since Storm Front.  And it’s not long before Marva, Vampire Queen, uses the threat of Murphy’s career to blackmail into getting Harry to do what she wants him to do.

And that involves finding The Word of Kemmler. But he’s not the only one who wants to find it, as he’s tailed by six Necromancers who all want the book. And it seems that Harry is going to have not only somehow prevent a Halloween that could truly wake the dead, but also save himself and Murphy.

Butcher proves that there’s never too much that you can cram into one novel, and by doing so, he makes Dead Beat possibly the weirdest Dresden Files novel yet. In a good way though, and we’re soon introduced (and re-introduced) to not only zombies, but also multiple factions of Vampires, Werewolves, Fairies, Necromancers, among others that are crowded into this book which is possibly the largest Dresden Files yet in the series.

And it proves that Dresden is not a one-man-army, by enlisting the help of two returning characters, his half-brother Thomas and Butters, a mortician who has, with just one novel, turned into one of my favourite characters in the whole series.

Also, for those who read the novel, you’ll soon find out why “Polka will never die!” has suddenly become the greatest warcry of all time. And, verging slightly into spoiler territory here, but this deserves a mention – we’ve got Harry riding on a T-Rex against a horde of zombies in modern-day Chicago. Only in The Dresden Files could such a thing happen, and it’s become one of my favourite moments in the entire series to date. Butcher, please keep writing more fantastic scenes like this.

I’ve been following The Dresden Files for seven books now, and whilst I’ve read several series that are much longer than this at this point, The Alex Cross series by James Patterson, The Horus Heresy series by Various Authors, and The Gaunt’s Ghosts series by Dan Abnett being three examples, we sort of wonder, how long will Butcher be able to keep us hooked before having to resort to a sort of formulaic, stale read that will make the reader lose faith in the series altogether. It’s happened before, I know, and James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series (YA) is a prime example of this. Dead Beat wasn’t formulaic though, so there is hope. And I have faith in Butcher, and Harry – to keep the series interesting.

The pace is quick, and action-packed, with enough laugh-out-loud moments to keep the novel entertaining, page-turning and enjoyable throughout. Fantastic supporting cast, fantastic main cast, amazing villains, this novel has it all. If you’re a Dresden fan, you won’t want to miss Dead Beat, and that much is for certain.

Verdict: 4.5/5

The Dresden Files: Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril, Summer Knight, Death Masks, Blood Rites, Dead Beat, Proven Guilty, White Night, Small Favour, Turn Coat, Changes, Side Jobs (Short Story Anthology), Ghost Story

More Dresden Files on TFF: Click Here.


Bane of Kings is one our most senior book reviewers here at The Founding Fields, based in England. He’s a prolific reviewer that has contributed to many things here and around the internet.


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